Sunday, April 4, 2010

Peregrine Perambulations.

Singular  Peregrine on the PBW

Courtesy of STW classifieds, I find myself the owner of a Singular Peregrine frame and fork which was the plan B tourer choice after the Fargo. Mostly built with stuff I had already, though I did shell out for some Titec H-Bars which looked like they'd give two or three different hand positions.

It's inaugural trip this weekend was a plan B. The original plan being a family camping trip, though kids having just recovered from a bug and an atrocious weather forecast meant that the night before the depart, I was planning something a bit more challenging, as they'd elected to stay at home.

So thirty minutes with tracklogs mapping, and the original twenty six mile two dayer has been extended to nearer one hundred miles, with most of it off road.

A not particularly early depart on Good Friday, I headed out into the forecast rain. A couple of minutes from mine, and it's uphill, and so it continues on up to South Head. Thankfully my road cassette coupled with the XT chainset gave me a low enough gear to ride the lot. I thought that I'd most likely have to push up from the Roych, but I gave it a go, and to my surprise got all the way to the top of the cobbles, not a given on a bike without a load. Soon after though, the pushing commenced, which is damn awkward with panniers. At Rushup Edge I checked my watch, and it was clear that this was going to be a long day. The extra weight certainly made my progress slow.

From Rushup and I leave the Dark Peak grit trails that I know well and head into limestone country that I visit rarely. The skinny cyclo-cross tyres slog through the muddy grass well enough, but slither all over when coming into contact with the wet limestone. Still I stay upright mostly with only one unplanned bike dismount all day.

At about 3pm I stopped to brew a cup of tea and eat. The water took that long to boil (as I hadn't turned the stove up full), that I was colder after my warming brew, than when I'd first stopped. Fail. Of course as I was colder, it was no surprise that this was when the rain started really hammering down. The next three hours were pretty miserable really. Slow going because of the muddy bridleways, wet and cold. I was greatful when I got on to the Tissington Trail at Parsley Hay. At last the going was good. Even better I soon came upon an old railway works hut. I got inside, brewed a pot of tea (properly this time) and scoffed some food. I squeezed the water out of my waterproof gloves, and warmed them over the stove for a while. I noted also that my other waterproofs were not. Wet feet and damp clothes, but then I'd been in the rain for eight hours, so wouldn't expect much else. This time the food and drink had done their stuff, and I felt somehat revived. Now of course the rain stopped, and after a short while the sun even made an appearance. I really enjoyed this next section, some ace views, and no one else around. Riding in the big ring more often than not I was soon in Ashbourne. Some cash from the bank, then I backtracked to a campsite near Tissington. I just managed to get my tent up before it went dark. Some nine and a half hours on the bike that day. Supper cooked and eaten, it was time for beer.

Back on the bike I headed to the nearest pub. Friday night 9:30 pm I open the pubs door. Two people at the bar stared at me in a what are you doing here kind of way. I ask "Are you open?", to which they in unison reply "yes". I enter. Next an ear grating screech akin to a smoke alarm needing a new battery, then the same again. opposite the bar there is a cage with a parrot in it. £3.10 later and I have a pint of Black Sheep. Knackered I try and find a comfy seat, instead I settle on a bench seat with a vertical back and a sort of dado rail at it's top which sticks out nicely into my shoulder blades. Ten minutes later and those two people, were again the only two people in the pub.

Back on the bike I head to pub number two. On arrival, I check through the window before entry. Promising, there must have been twenty people in there, some of them are even smiling. Phew. A few beers later and I am in need of sleep.

A most pleasant nights sleep was had in my new "ladies" sleeping bag (1/2 the price of the men's one). In fact such a good nights sleep that I wasn't away until 10:30am next day. An easier day than the previous. For starters it wasn't raining, and for the most part the trails were quick under tyre. A fair bit of (quiet) road too, so 6 hours got me back to Hayfield.

I'm really pleased with the Singular Peregrine's performance. The bar bag and the panniers worked well together, and though obviously handling was different, the bike still handled really well through the rough stuff. Oh and if you are thinking what has he got in all those bags, well the answer is exactly the same amount of stuff less two lenses and a camera that I am taking with me when I go to the Icelandic interior in the summer for a few weeks on a picture taking mission. I'll be swapping the CX tyres for some Marathon XR ones though :)